Best way to clean C&P

I have a 10 x 15 C&P and have struggled with cleaning the ink off of it after printing. I use Press Wash and Micro fiber rags to clean it. Basically what I end up doing is cleaning the ink off of the disk, and then rotating the wheel slowly to clean off the rollers while the pass over the disk. I end up repeating this several times to get all of the ink off. It takes me about 15 minutes. It seems like there must be a better way to do this? Does anyone have a good method?

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I’ve used old newspaper pages for many years. The friend who taught me demonstrated the technique in his church suit, white shirt and tie (jacket off). I cut the newspaper pages to be just a bit wider than the ink disc. I lay a page over the platen to protect it from dribbles. Lay a page on the disc, run the rollers up until they are almost touching the paper, then dribble solvent clear across back and forth above the rollers while advancing them. The first pass the paper will probably stick to the leading roller — just back down and add solvent while advancing again. Once the roller isn’t picking up the paper, roll all the way to the top of the paper, leading with solvent, then run the rollers back off the disc, remove the newspaper page and replace it with a fresh one. Repeat, rolling back and forth after the first pass, adding solvent until there are no dry spots on the paper, then remove that sheet and replace it. After the third sheet the rollers should be pretty clean and the disc wet all over with solvent and minus most of the ink. At that point I use one more sheet, rolling up and down to mop up any excess solvent. Then wipe the disc with a dirty rag, followed by a cleaner one. Then run the rollers up and advance them slowly while wiping them with a somewhat dirty rag with solvent on it, doing both rollers, then repeat with a clean rag or a clean part of the first rag wet with solvent in the area that will touch the rollers, repeating until no ink comes off on the rag. Finish with a good wipedown of the disc including the underside of the rim. The whole process generally takes me less than 5 minutes.

I have used this process for about 40 years, mostly on my 6x9 Sigwalt because that’s what I use most, but also on my Pearl 11, and all the other platen presses I’ve had. I’ve almost never gotten any ink on my hands, even.


Here is a wash-up procedure from an old high school text book. I use 4” x 4” cotton pads that you can get from Kelly Paper or a printing supply company. It requires a lot less solvent than rags, and I can usually clean my 10x15 with 2 or 3 cotton pads.

image: cleanup.jpg


Thank you both, I will try both of these methods. Thanks for taking the time to post these!

Thank you for the good tips!

I’m currently using a similar method to Bob’s, and am also getting close to 5 minutes per clean up. Sometimes it’s even faster with lighter inks. If you use thicker paper towels, you can dribble more solvent which I find can help speed things up a little.

My first time cleaning up took me almost 30 minutes, which involved removing the rollers (which isn’t very easy, considering the stiffness of the springs)